NEW CZECH FILMS
11th ANNUAL SERIES OF NEW CZECH FILMS
November 4, 2010 - November 7, 2010,
The eleventh annual series includes three North American premieres
Special events and Q&As with directors Tomas Masin (3 Seasons in Hell) and Academy Award Nominee, Jan Hrebejk (Kawasakis Rose, Czech official entry to Academy Awards in Best Foreign Film category).
Curated by Irena Kovarova.
Presented in 3 venues:
Czech Center New York
Admission Free. No reservations; seating is on first-come first-served basis.
Nov 9 – closing night screening and reception (3 Seasons in Hell)
BAMcinématek at BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn
Tickets available at BAM.org/BAMcinematek
Nov 27 – special event on the occasion of theatrical release (Kawasakis Rose)
Film Forum , 209 West Houston Street, Manhattan
Tickets available at filmforum.com
Box Office call 212-727-8110
The first and the last film in the program belong to one director, Jan Hrebejk. The series opens on November 4 with a North American premiere of contemporary chamber opera Tomorrow There Will Be... (2010), captured on film thanks to Hrebejks admiration for the unusual theatrical piece and the work of Ales Brezina, the composer of original music to most of Hrebejks films. The director originally planned to include scenes from the opera performance in his feature Kawasakis Rose realizing in the process that the opera demands to be captured in full. Kawasakis Rose (2009), which opens on November 24 at Film Forum and runs through December 7 in a North American theatrical premiere, was not underserved by this decision. Garnering critical praise at its world premiere in the Panorama Section of the 2010 Berlinale Intl. Film Festival, the film also won the support of Czech Film Academy, which submitted the film in September as the Czech official entry to the American Film Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Director Hrebejk will be present at the 7:50pm screening on November 27, which is presented in collaboration of Film Forum with the Czech Center New York and concludes the series.
The rest of the program at the Czech Center New York (November 4-7) presents debuting directors and film students: the final film in a four-volume exquisite documentary series Forgotten Transports by historian and political scientist Lukas Pribyl; two winning student films from Prague Film Academy festival FAMU Fest Roma Boys (2009) by Rozalie Kohoutova and Alda (2009) by Viera Cakanyova; and the North American premiere of Dreamers (2009), a generational statement by JItka Rudolfova, which premiered in the East of the West competition at Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival this summer.
The New Czech Films 2010 closing night screening on November 9 at BAMcinématek, BAM Rose Cinemas, introduces yet another debuting feature film director Tomas Masin, who belongs among the most successful directors of commercials in the Czech Republic. He teamed up with Icelandic cinematographer Karl Oskarsson, whose “tour de force work” and “admirable use of black-and-white, muted color and everything in between” (—Dan Fainaru, Screen International) adds to the remarkable art direction. Masin sumptuously portrayed the turbulent years before and after the Communist putsch in postwar Czechoslovakia and the naïveté of the Marxist bourgeois youths. With his upcoming project devoted to the actions of the much argued about anticommunist group in Czech history with whom the director shares not only his last name, Masin is a film director to watch.
New Czech Films schedule
All films are in Czech and other languages with English subtitles.
Screenings at the Czech Center New York:
Thursday, November 4 at 7pm - Opening night screening with special guests
Saturday, November 6 at 6:30pm
Tomorrow There Will Be... (Zitra se bude) (2010) 75min, North American Premiere!
Directed by Jan Hrebejk
Opera music and libretto by Ales Brezina, libretto co-author and stage director Jiri Nekvasil
With Sona Cervena and Jan Mikusek
The filming of the chamber opera on the trial of Milada Horakova, the only woman executed in Communist Czechoslovakia in the sham political trials of the 1950s, was spearheaded by a wish to capture for posterity this unusual musical theater performance staged in 2008 at the National Theater in Prague. Brezina and Nekvasil, leading figures of Czech contemporary opera, utilized the recently unearthed seven hours of film and sound recordings of the real trial. Except for one original song lyrics, the libretto is composed solely of Horakovas own words, along with letters from her family and speeches of the prosecutors. Written specifically for Sona Cervena, the renowned opera soloist who performed around the world including San Francisco and Chicago, the authors masterfully transferred the trial from the theater of life to the theater of art—in reality the trials were fully staged and scripted by the criminal regime. Interview with Ales Brezina, the author of soundtracks to most of Jan Hrebejks films, can be found at www.radio.cz/en/section/one-on-one/ales-brezina-from-martinu-to-menzel-to-milada-horakova.
Friday, November 5 at 7pm
Forgotten Transports: To Poland (Zapomenute transporty do Polska) (2009) 85min
Directed by Lukas Pribyl
“Monumental”, “Gripping”, “ [A] seminal documentation of a little-known piece of WWII history.” —Alissa Simon, Variety
This is the final volume of an awarded four feature documentary film series titled Forgotten Transports, which renders the stories of survival of Czechoslovak Jews, who were transported to places mostly unknown as destinations for the Nazi extermination machine. Trained as political scientist and historian, director Lukas Pribyl devoted 10 years to research and film production earning praise from fellow filmmakers who called the series the best research archival films on the Holocaust. Avoiding the usual cataloguing of deaths, Pribyl concentrates on life and personal stories through interviews with survivors and meticulous work with archival materials—he did not include any story-line unless he found original never before used photographs and time-specific film footage. The great lengths the director went to discovering the documentation would deserve their own film or a book. Each film concentrates on a different mode of survival—through camaraderie and group support in To Estonia, through keeping family life seemingly intact in To Latvia, through active fight in To Belarus. In To Poland, the protagonists survive by assuming different identities and escaping their fates by fleeing to other countries.
Saturday, November 6 at 8pm
Winners of 2009 FAMU Fest
Roma Boys (2009) 30min, dir. Rozalie Kohoutova
Alda (2009) 51min, dir. Viera Cakanyova
FAMU Fest is the annual competition of student works held by the Prague Film Academy, the school that brought into the world of cinema directors such as Milos Forman, Jiri Menzel, Vera Chytilova, Emir Kusturica, Goran Paskaljevic, and Jan Hrebejk. The two presented winning films from the last years competition approach themes of isolation and identity by remarkably original means. In Roma Boys, director Kohoutova follows a young Roma gay journalist in his quest to find love in his own community. In Cakanyovas Alda, a woman leads the film through her own demise as she slowly slips away into oblivion because of Alzheimer disease.
Sunday, November 7 at 5:30pm and 7:30pm
Dreamers (Zoufalci) (2009), 97min, North American Premiere!
Directed by Jitka Rudolfova
With Simona Babcakova, Jakub Zacek, Zuzana Onufrakova, Vaclav Neuzil, Pavlina Storkova, Michal Kern, Jaroslav Plesl
The talented director Rudolfova has been portraying her generational peers since her first student films produced at the Prague Film Academy. She chose to devote her first feature film, a graduation project, to the same topic. And it paid of: Dreamers became a hit and a generational statement by expressing the existential fears of her fellow thirtysomethings. Taking cues from her professor Vera Chytilova, the director collages together personal accounts from members of a close nit group of six friends who confront their current unsatisfying relationships with their dreams at the raw moment of entering the forth decade in their lives. They decide that a solution to their troubles would be moving in together in a cabin not far from the mountain town, which they all originally left behind.
Special events at other venues:
Tuesday, November 9, 7pm
at BAMcinématek, BAM Rose Cinemas
Closing Night Screening followed by Q&A with director Tomas Masin in person
3 Seasons in Hell (3 Sezony v pekle) (2009) 110min, North American Premiere!
Directed by Tomas Masin
With Krystof Hadek, Karolina Gruzska, and Martin Huba
“…helmer Masin brings a visual exuberance to the material that marks him as talent to watch.”—Alissa Simon, Variety
This special screening organized by BAMcinématek and the Czech Center New York celebrates the
11th annual New Czech Films series with its closing night film. Masins period piece, his feature film debut, which premiered in July in the main competition at the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, follows the extravagant exploits of a 19-year-old dandy who runs away from home to explore his artistic freedom and political idealism in postwar Prague at the dawn of the Communist coup détat. The film was inspired by the autobiography of one of the most famous Czech literary scenesters of that era, Egon Bondys The First Ten Years, yet transformed into a fictional work that allows the characters to emerge from their real-life counterparts shadows.
Saturday, November 27 at 7:50pm
at Film Forum
Special screening followed by Q&A with director Jan Hrebejk in person celebrating U.S. Theatrical Premiere and release at Film Forum November 24-December 7
Kawasakis Rose (Kawasakiho ruze) (2009), 95min
Directed by Jan Hrebejk
With Lenka Vlasakova, Martin Huba, Antonin Kratochvil, Daniela Kolarova, and Ladislav Chudik
“Top-notch ensemble performances…”, “…one of the duos most resonant and serious undertakings…”—Derek Elley, Variety
The screenwriter-director duo of Petr Jarchovsky and Jan Hrebejk, which has been working together since Hrebejks feature debut in 1993 and received Oscar nomination for Divided We Fall, departed with this film from the lighter fare of dramatic comedies for which they are best known (Cozy Dens, Up and Down, Beauty in Trouble) in favor of a full blown family drama. Twenty years since the fall of the Communist regime and the following turbulent times when true and false accusations of collaboration with secret police made front pages of national dailies, the adult daughter of a renowned psychiatrist and reputedly morally irreproachable dissident discovers facts that shake the grounds not only of her own family. In a story about guilt, punishment, forgiveness and remorse everyone seems to have their own version of the truth. The film premiered at the 2010 Berlinale festivals Panorama section and is the official Czech entry to the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Photo: © Lucie Jansch